Built in the 13th century by the Chiaramonte family, the Favara castle is of particular interest because it represents the transitional phase between castle and palace. The Palace, as it is in fact commonly called because of the square arrangement of its various parts, recalls the typical lay-out of the Swabian castles that sprang up in eastern Sicily and may be compared with the palacia or solacia built by King Frederick II of Swabia (1194-1250) in Sicily and Puglia some 50 years before. The building's partial use as a residence not in any case intended strictly for military purposes is reflected in its not particularly dominating position.
The first order of the Palace is compact in appearance, while the second order is cut through by two-light windows, some of which were replaced in the Renaissance by architraved windows.
The rooms on the ground floor of the castle, once used as storehouses, stables, and servants' living quarters, have barrel vaults; they all open onto the courtyard, with ogival doors and various 16th-, 18th-, and 19th-cent. additions, getting their light through narrow loopholes.
In the entrance hallway there is a stone bearing a mysterious, indecipherable inscription that according to local tradition proclaims the whereabouts of a hidden treasure.
Of particular interest are the chapel and the portal, which is flanked on either side by two little columns and a marble frieze decorated with a basso-relievo and winged cupids.
The motifs of the decorations are clearly echoes of the Norman age: in particular, the shafts of the columns and the chapters recall those of the Cloister of Monreale.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.